What is a Trigger Point Therapy with Acupuncture?
Trigger Point Therapy with Acupuncture aims to resolve trigger points within the muscle. A trigger point is a small patch of tightly contracted muscle tissue within the larger muscle, which can reduce blood flow and range-of-motion. This is widely known as a muscle knot, which can be painful as it becomes less likely to fully relax on its own. Because our muscles are made up of thousands of tiny fibers, these knots can occur in multiple places. As trigger points develop, the entire muscle becomes less able to expand and contract normally.
How does Trigger Point Therapy with Acupuncture work?
Releasing trigger points with the use of acupuncture promotes a natural healing response. By accessing nerves within the muscle, contractions of the muscle trigger a reaction from the body. The process promotes the release of histamines, relaxing blood vessels, and increasing blood flow into the area, which allows the affected tissues to recover more effectively. As the muscle fibers begin to relax, the pain associated with the tightness begins to fade.
Overused muscles are continuously contracting, and as a result, become shorter, which can become a chronic condition over time. Therefore, getting the muscle to release is extremely beneficial by reducing the strain on tendons and joints, which also has a positive impact on repetitive injuries like tendonitis. Dr. Ragsdale has developed specialized treatment, which is helping patients resolve trigger points.
How do you find trigger points in the muscle?
According to the National Institute of Health and National Center for Biotechnology Information, the best detection method and “gold standard” is through physical examination (Shah, Thaker, Heimur, Aredo, Sikdar, & Gerber, 2015, p. 17). The process requires palpation (feeling the area), identifying a stiff band of muscle fibers and nodule within the band combined with the ability to reproduce your pain with subtle yet sustained pressure. Once the trigger points have all been found, effective treatment can be proposed.
Are Trigger Points common?
Yes, and they may point to many severe and unexplained aches and pains. Myofascial pain syndrome is very common, which can be identified by a sore spot. As described as micro-cramps, these sore spots are interpreted as cramps and spasms, which can continue to occur around the same injury location as the pain worsens. As a result, these trigger points may be a significant factor in the assessment of neck pain and back pain as a “cause, a complication, or a bit of both” Ingraham (2020).
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Ingraham, P. (2020, March 11). The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain. Retrieved from https://www.painscience.com/tutorials/trigger-points.php
Shah, J. P., Thaker, N., Heimur, J., Aredo, J. V., Sikdar, S., & Gerber, L. (2015, July). Myofascial Trigger Points Then and Now: A Historical and Scientific Perspective. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4508225/